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Just like everyone, seniors just want to have fun

By:  Paula Walter

Assistant Editor

The Johnson County Senior Center is a busy place that seems to be constantly bustling with activity. Under the direction of Kathy Motsinger, it’s become apparent that being a senior can be a lot of fun. According to Motsinger, there are over 100 seniors who frequent the senior center on a regular basis. As a bonus, the majority of the activities at the senior center are free.
Monday morning starts off at 10:00 am with the Silver Sneakers group. The group meet Monday, Wednesday and Friday morning and there is no charge for the class. “The Silver Sneakers program is one of our biggest exercise programs,” said Motsinger. The exercises are done while seated.
Line dancing with Linda Gee begins at 12:30 on Mondays and Thursdays. A beginning line dancing class will be held on Mondays at 11:30. Contact the senior center for more information if you are interested in this or any of the many classes that are available.
Those seniors interested in playing pool are welcome to come to the senior center every day, all day long. According to Motsinger, there is a large group that enjoys playing pool and there is a pool tournament coming up on November 1, 2nd and 3rd. Last year, there were 37 participants.
On Tuesdays, the quilting bee meets. Exercises for seniors with arthritis with Sarah Ransom through the University of Tennessee Extension are held both Tuesdays and Thursdays at 10:00 am. Guitar, fiddle, mandolin lessons are held every Tuesday with the Senior Picking Appalachian Music (SPAM) group under the guidance of Kody Norris and Mary Rachel Nally. There is a $5 donation per class. There is also tai chi class every Tuesday at 12:30 (currently a $5 donation). However, Motsinger was just awarded a grant and tai chi classes will be free beginning in January.

Bunco begins at 12:00 pm. If you haven’t played Bunco, it’s easy to learn. It’s also fun to watch the group of women talking and laughing and at times, ringing their cowbells. “Tuesdays are one of our biggest days,” said Motsinger.
There are special outings and events sprinkled throughout the month. This month, planned trips include trips to Walmart, Pigeon Forge, Mayberry, and a visit to see the Brown Mountain Lights.
For those who enjoy crafts, there is card making with Lorraine, adult coloring and quilting bees. There are puzzles, rook and other board games. Crafters attending Crafts with Kay are currently working on both Thanksgiving and Christmas decorations.

Janet Rhea Payne leads the book club and the group just finished reading The Help. They followed up with watching the movie that was based on the book. Motsinger recently was able to purchase a popcorn machine for the center. This month, the book of the month is “The Girls of Atomic City” and the group will meet Wednesday, October 30th at 12:30 to discuss October’s selection.
There is also a brain games team at the senior center. The name of the team is “The First Sunrise Seniors.” They placed third in their first competition last year. “I think everyone was surprised how well we did,” said Motsinger. There is also storytelling with Evelyn Cook on October 30th.
A country breakfast is served every Thursday from 6:30 am until 8:30 am. The cost is $3 and the monies go to support on-going activities for the seniors. Lunch is served Monday through Friday with a suggested donation of $1.00. The meals are hardy and filling.

In addition to all the activities going on, there is the Crazy Hat Day, Wear Your Favorite Apron Day, Longhorn Day (please wear maroon and white), a 50’s Party, and New Year’s Party. “Each month I try to do something special, at least one per month,” said Motsinger.
Part of the program at the senior center includes education, fitness, health, and blood pressure checks. There is a health fair twice a year where a full panel of blood tests is done. There are health screenings and a free flu clinic. There will a health fair including blood work in November. Stayed tune for more information

A trip to Savannah, Charleston and Jekyll Island is being planned for April 30 thru May 4, 2018. The package includes bus transportation, four nights of lodging, eight meals that include four breakfast meals and four dinners. There is a guided trolley tour of Savannah, a visit to historic Charleston, South Carolina, including a harbor cruise, and a guided tour of St. Simons Island and a tram tour of Jekyll Island. Contact the senior center for more at 423-727-8883.
Judging by all the smiling faces at the senior center, they are proof that growing older can be fun and age is indeed just a number.